Donald Trump’s Not Slowing Down: He’s Up Big in New Hampshire, and Close in Iowa

New NBC/Marist polls show that the mogul-candidate’s boomlet isn’t being quelled by controversy.

Donald Trump greets guests gathered for a rally on July 25, 2015 in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
National Journal
Emily Schultheis
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Emily Schultheis
July 26, 2015, 5:04 a.m.

Be­littling a long­time sen­at­or’s mil­it­ary ser­vice is usu­ally a good way to end a polit­ic­al cam­paign. In Don­ald Trump’s case, a set of polls re­leased Sunday morn­ing from NBC/Mar­ist sug­gest that it’s not stop­ping the busi­ness mogul’s rap­id rise in the GOP field.

In New Hamp­shire, Trump comes in first with 21 per­cent; his closest com­pet­it­or is Jeb Bush, who’s at 14 per­cent. Scott Walk­er comes in third with 12 per­cent, then John Kasich at 7 per­cent, Chris Christie and Ben Car­son at 6 per­cent, and Marco Ru­bio and Ted Cruz at 5 per­cent.

And in Iowa, where Trump made his now-in­fam­ous com­ments about Mc­Cain this month, the busi­ness mogul comes in a close second to Walk­er. Walk­er takes 19 per­cent in the poll, com­pared with Trump at 17 per­cent. They’re fol­lowed by Bush (12 per­cent), Car­son (8 per­cent), Hucka­bee (7 per­cent), and Rand Paul (5 per­cent).

The pair of polls were taken just as Trump was ques­tion­ing Mc­Cain’s war hero status at a GOP cattle-call event in Iowa. There, his sup­port ac­tu­ally rose (with­in the mar­gin-of-er­ror) after he made the com­ments: he was get­ting 16 per­cent in the in­ter­views con­duc­ted be­fore­hand, com­pared with 18 per­cent in the ones done after. (The com­ments do seem to have hurt him in New Hamp­shire, though not enough to take him out of first place: he was get­ting 26 per­cent in the in­ter­views be­fore his Mc­Cain com­ments, com­pared with 14 per­cent af­ter­ward.)

Na­tion­ally, too, Trump is on top: An­oth­er poll out Sunday, this one from CNN/ORC In­ter­na­tion­al, found him in first with 18 per­cent of the GOP primary vote. Bush is close be­hind at 15 per­cent, which is with­in the poll’s mar­gin of er­ror; the only oth­er can­did­ate to reach double di­gits in that poll is Walk­er. Asked if they want Trump to con­tin­ue his can­did­acy for pres­id­ent, 52 per­cent of po­ten­tial GOP primary voters said yes — and 22 per­cent of those sur­veyed think he’ll even­tu­ally win the nom­in­a­tion, second only to Bush.

Still, an obstacle for Trump is that his fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ings are fairly low with GOP voters in both states, es­pe­cially in New Hamp­shire, ac­cord­ing to the NBC/Mar­ist poll. There, 39 per­cent of GOP primary voters have a fa­vor­able view of him, com­pared with 53 per­cent who view him un­fa­vor­ably; in Iowa it’s slightly bet­ter, with 45 per­cent fa­vor­able, 44 per­cent un­fa­vor­able.

The poll also sur­veyed Demo­crat­ic primary voters, find­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton still on top in both states — but with Bernie Sanders gain­ing steam, es­pe­cially in New Hamp­shire. There, Clin­ton leads Sanders by just 13 points, 47 per­cent to 34 per­cent, with Mar­tin O’Mal­ley at 5 per­cent and Lin­coln Chafee at 2 per­cent. Back in the Feb­ru­ary NBC/Mar­ist poll, Clin­ton led Sanders in New Hamp­shire 69 per­cent to 13 per­cent.

In Iowa, Clin­ton’s lead is con­sid­er­ably big­ger. She took 55 per­cent of likely Demo­crat­ic caucus-go­ers in the poll, com­pared with 26 per­cent for Sanders, 4 per­cent for O’Mal­ley, and 2 per­cent for Jim Webb.

The worst news for Clin­ton might be her fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ing among all re­gistered voters in both states. In New Hamp­shire, it’s 19 points un­der­wa­ter (37 per­cent fa­vor­able, 56 per­cent un­fa­vor­able) and in Iowa it’s 20 points un­der­wa­ter (37 per­cent fa­vor­able, 57 per­cent un­fa­vor­able).

The polls sur­veyed 919 re­gistered voters in Iowa from Ju­ly 14-21 (mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.2 per­cent­age points), in­clud­ing 342 po­ten­tial Re­pub­lic­an caucus-go­ers (+/-5.3 per­cent­age points) and 320 po­ten­tial Demo­crat­ic caucus-go­ers (+/- 5.5 per­cent­age points). In New Hamp­shire, the poll sur­veyed 910 re­gistered voters (+/- 3.2 per­cent­age points), in­clud­ing 401 po­ten­tial GOP primary voters (+/- 4.9 per­cent­age points) and 329 po­ten­tial Demo­crat­ic primary voters (+/- 5.4 per­cent­age points).

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